The question hit me a few weeks ago: When my parents die, will I choose to wear black or white to their funerals? Or rather, would they have wanted me to wear black or white? Because the color can symbolize death, it’s traditional for Koreans to wear white to funerals, but until last month I had only ever thought of this as a novel fun fact that existed solely outside of myself.
Noor Al-Fikhri was buried in a shallow grave under a fig tree ten minutes before noon, after her left ankle gave out in an attempt to hang her blue silk dress to dry while climbing the rusty, half-removed ladder that led to the roof. My 12 year old grandmother found her sister half-splayed, cats and flies lapping at what little remained of the dried blood, her knees disjointed and contorted in the special sort of way that could only be found on a dead woman.
Critical learning requires a degree of vulnerability from the learner and the teacher. But when the traumas of systemic oppression are unaddressed in the classroom, marginalized students aren’t given the chance they deserve to show their own vulnerability, and thus aren’t given the chance to engage in a wholly authentic and meaningful learning experience.
Political conversations are never easy, especially when these conversations cross generations. They become even more difficult when the older generation has an entirely different background and upbringing than you, leading to many gaps in understanding. It’s normal for accepted political beliefs to change across time, with each younger generation becoming more and more progressive than the last.
Before the death of Geroge Floyd, it’s safe to say that I was uneducated when it came to social issues that were happening around me. Whether that be because of the influence of the Asian household I grew up in, or not recognizing the privilege I had that made me ignorant to the ways in which I needed to educate myself, it wasn’t until quarantine when I began immersing myself in learning more.
Disclaimer: Islamophobia is a phrase that doesn’t truly embody anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions. The word, literally meaning a fear of Islam, legitimizes fear of Muslims, as if we are a people to fear or operate like regular and logical horrors of spiders and heights. I do not condone nor do I use that phrase in my daily life as I attempt to distance myself from the misleading caricature of a term. In its place, I will use the phrase anti-Muslim and urge you to do the same as your refer to anti-Muslim bigotry.
With the 2020 U.S. presidential election being less than a month away, the candidates from both majority political parties have ramped up their media campaigns in a last-minute attempt to sway the majority of Americans to vote in their favor. It is almost impossible to avoid the Trump-funded commercial that displays a decades-old recording of Joe Biden endorsing cuts for Medicare and Medicaid. On the other hand, videos that highlight the current president’s ineffectiveness at mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 and racial inequity have also been widely circulated.